Friday, April 21, 2017

Lobby Watch: Locking Up Immigrant Families

Orwellian Texas lawmakers are working on legislation to license immigrant detention centers as child-care facilities. Many testified against the idea, but the prison industry is paying ten Texas lobbyists up to $480,000 and has doled out $225,000 in political contributions in recent years. 

Read the Private Prisons report.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Lobby Watch: Fantasy Sports Bookies
Recruit Deep Lobby Bench

When Attorney General Paxton opined last year that fantasy-sports bets constitute illegal gambling, the industry had one registered Texas lobbyist. Today, as the House Licensing Committee hears a legalization bill, the industry boasts 25 Texas lobbyists.

Allen Blakemore, who leads the lobby's fantasy team, doubles as a political consultant. That's why Austin bookies are taking odds on the extent to which Blakemore's legislative clients will outdo their colleagues in supporting this industry. 

Lobby Watch handicaps this fantasy match up like nobody else.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Lobby Watch: Sitton Enters Crossfire of Pipeline Spat

Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton recently tried to mediate a payment dispute between natural gas producers and gas-pipeline giant DCP Midstream--despite having taken thousands of political dollars from both sides of that negotiating table.

For the latest on how Railroad Commissioners make sausage, see Lobby Watch.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Conflicted! Texas Railroad Commissioners Fail
to "Self-Police" Their Self-Interests

New report finds Texas Railroad Commissioners took tens of thousands of dollars from energy interests with cases pending before their agency in recent years. The new study contradicts testimony by the commissioners that they “self-police” themselves against such conflicts of interest.

Read the media release.

Read the full 'Conflicted!' report.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lobby Watch: Ride-Hail Lobbyists Land Up to $2.3 Million

Two San Francisco-based ride-hailing giants are spending up to $2.3 million on 40 Texas lobbyists in 2017. A year after Austin voters told Uber and Lyft to kiss off if they wouldn't respect a driver-fingerprinting ordinance, a Senate panel is considering three bills today to prevent local governments from regulating the ride-app industry.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lobby Watch: Teladoc Calls on Texas Lawmakers

The nation's top corporate facilitator of phone and Internet medical consultations, New York-based Teladoc, Inc., is betting now is the time for a Texas surgical strike.

Read the new Lobby Watch.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Texas Senate Passes Major Ethics Legislation

The Texas Senate today passed a strong ethics bill.  SB14 passed by a vote of 31-0 and is on its way to the House.  The bill, while generally supported by reform groups, lacks a number of fundamental reform provisions long-advocated by TPJ.  Here is TPJ's statement on the bill:

"The Senate took a first step down the trail to a little-less corruption in Texas.  We encourage the House to follow the Senate's path but do a little bit better.  Texas ethics laws remain riddled with deep chasms and dark holes that still need to be filled." 

Read a summary of the bill from the Star-Telegram's Dave Montgomery.
Read Jay Root's story on the bill's passage in the Texas Tribune

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Look Back at Rick Perry

As former Gov. Rick Perry's U.S. Senate confirmation hearing approaches, we  are re-posting several of our major reports on Perry's tenure as governor.  You can view a list of all of the
130-plus TPJ postings relating to Perry by scrolling down the right-hand column of the home page and clicking on the "Rick Perry" label.

The Rick Perry Primer 

Our 2011 background report documenting Perry's many conflicts and controversies.

Perry Top-Donor:  Nuclear Waste Dumpster

Lobby Watch Report:  Nuclear Compact With the Devil?
Lobby Watch Report:  Don't Trash Texas Until Your Give Perry $1.1 Million.
Lobby Watch Report:  Waste Kingpin's $$ Predicts Nuke Dump Support.

Perry's Enterprise Fund Con Job

TPJ has documented the many shortcomings of Perry's economic development funds.
Lobby Watch Report: Texas Big Three Bag Enterprise-Fund Millions.
Con Job: Report Finds Most Texas Enterprise Fund Grantees Failed to Deliver in 2010

Report: Enterprise Fund Grantees Give $7 Million: Rick Perry's Piggybank.

Perry and the Texas Lobby

TPJ Shark Week reports documented connections between Perry and Texas lobbyists.
Report One:  Perry's Roomie Toomey Mobilizes the Corporate Lobby.
Report Two:  Governor Runs Farm Team for Lobbyists.
Report Three:  Perry Appointees Morph Into Lobbyists.

Perry's Criminal Indictments

Fact-sheet on Rick Perry criminal indictments, June 2015.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the charges against Perry in a pretrial ruling in February 2016.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lobby Watch: Apache's Oil Find Exceeds Its Political Heft

The top political recipients of money from the Houston company that announced a giant West Texas oil discovery last fall are surprisingly bipartisan and notably exclude Gov. Abbott. 

A new Lobby Watch fracks the political funds underlying the 'Alpine High' oil find, which environmentalists say endangers Balmorhea's fabled San Solomon Springs desert oasis.

Read the new Lobby Watch.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Revisiting Rick Perry's Corporate Welfare Giveaways

Alex MacGillis at ProPublica takes a look at
 Rick Perry’s Texas Giveaways.

Read TPJ's 2010 report on Perry's Enterprise Fund grants.